- Applications for the 2023–2024 academic year will be open May 22 — June 30.
WSGC graduate fellowships at the University of Washington are focused on supporting Ph.D. students in STEM fields related to NASA activities.
Students applying for this opportunity must have interests aligned in one of the following technical areas currently supported by Space Grant activities:
- High altitude (scientific) balloons
- Remote sensing
- Science Mission Directorate engagement
Details on these areas can be found below.
Application and award process
The student is the primary applicant, but faculty advisors must fill out a Support Form to certify their plans to provide funding for the student outside of this fellowship.
Fellowship payment is provided for the nine-month academic term. Specific award amount will vary. Fellowships are not intended to substitute for graduate student work via a TA or RA appointment.
WSGC supports students in a variety of STEM disciplines including astronomy, biology, and physics; Earth, space, and environmental sciences; aeronautics and astronautics; computer science and engineering; electrical, mechanical, chemical, and systems engineering.
Requirements for student applicants
- Must be a U.S. citizen
- Enrollment in a Ph.D. program at the UW starting no later than Autumn 2023
- Enrollment in a STEM discipline aligned with NASA interests as outlined above
- Interest and ability to participate in WSGC activities aligned with the selected technical area
Requirements for faculty advisor
- Acknowledge that WSGC is providing fellowship funding that does not include tuition or health insurance
- Commit to continuing to provide necessary funds for salary, benefits, tuition, and health insurance required by the student’s home department to reach a full RA or TA appointment outside of the Space Grant Fellowship
Technical area details
Small satellites have become an increasingly important tool. CubeSats in particular have experienced increasing growth and interest with more than 200 CubeSat flights since 2003 and over 100 CubeSats being launched this past year16. Students at the University of Washington, have developed a 3U CubeSat boasting two innovative systems: an electric propulsion system capable of high specific thrust needed for quick trajectory changing, and a communication system capable of significantly higher data throughput. Read more about WSGC’s CubeSat program.
High altitude (scientific) balloons
NASA has a long history of high altitude ballooning projects that support space and Earth science research and investigations. Ballooning can be a space and cost efficient method to test and implement space related technologies. WSGC is currently working to implement a particulate measuring system to study air quality as impacted by wildfires. As a balloon ascends, samples can be obtained from various altitudes and then evaluated after landing. Additionally, we are planning for an increase in ballooning activities building up to the 2023 annular eclipse and 2024 total eclipse. Read more about WSGC’s HAB program.
WSGC has a long standing rocketry program ranging from support for undergraduate clubs, assisting students in getting different certifications, arranging launches, and developing supersonic capabilities. We have developed a series of systems that have reached supersonic Mach numbers as high as 2.2 under the guidance of the late Dr. Robert Winglee. We are seeking increased student engagement and further development in this area. Read more about WSGC’s rocketry program.
WA Space Grant is seeking to establish programs related to remote sensing. Remote sensing is the acquiring of information from a distance. NASA observes Earth and other planetary bodies using sensors aboard satellites and aircraft that detect and record reflected or emitted energy. Remote sensors, which provide a global perspective and a wealth of data about Earth systems, enable data-informed decision making based on the current and future state of our planet. Potential projects include working with students around the state on learning how to access and work with relevant data sets.
Science Mission Directorate engagement
WA Space Grant is seeking to establish more programs relating to Science Mission Directorate (SMD) activities. Students interested in this topic should be currently performing research in astrophysics, planetary science, Heliophysics, or earth science. Potential projects include developing outreach materials to get more students participating in SMD aligned research and related activities.